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Deadline: October 16, 2014

National Science Foundation: Discovery Research K-12

The Discovery Research K-12 program (DRK-12) seeks to significantly enhance the learning and teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by preK-12 students and teachers, through research and development of innovative resources, models and tools (RMTs). Projects in the DRK-12 program build on fundamental research in STEM education and prior research and development efforts that provide theoretical and empirical justification for proposed projects. Teachers and students who participate in DRK-12 studies are expected to enhance their understanding and use of STEM content, practices, and skills.

DRK-12 invites proposals that address immediate challenges that are facing preK-12 STEM education as well as those that anticipate radically different structures and functions of pre-K 12 teaching and learning. The DRK-12 program has four major research and development strands:

  1. Assessment: DRK-12 encourages proposals that develop and study assessments that: focus on formative assessments that help teachers provide guidance to students and inform teacher decision-making; measure preK-12 students’ knowledge of core disciplinary ideas, unifying concepts or affective constructs such as engagement, persistence, values and attitudes toward STEM disciplines; evaluate skills and practices that are critical for success in STEM, such as collaboration, modeling, complex problem solving, and design; measure learning and other outcomes in ways that are embedded within cyber-enabled learning environments, including virtual environments, on-line classes, simulations and games; are instructionally sensitive in that they measure changes in student learning as a result of different types of educational experiences; or probe teachers’ knowledge of core and emerging STEM content, pedagogical content knowledge and practices.
  2. Learning: Proposals submitted to this strand address research and development of RMTs that: help students understand new and emerging content in STEM; develop important and cross-cutting concepts and ideas as described in new career- and college-readiness standards; help students learn key STEM concepts, practices, scientific investigation, and engineering design as outlined in standards documents; and effectively engage and serve the diversity of learners found in U.S. classrooms.
  3. Teaching: Proposals submitted to this strand would focus on research and development of RMTs that help pre- and in-service teachers provide high quality STEM education for all students. Proposals to study existing teacher pre- and in-service programs and develop innovative models that support career-long learning by preK-12 teachers and have the potential for successful diffusion and future scaling are encouraged.
  4. Implementation Research: DRK-12 is interested in proposals that develop evidence of the efficacy and effectiveness of previously developed RMTs that move from being studied in the development environment to operating under more general educational conditions.

Proposals may address more than one strand. The program supports three types of projects: (1) Exploratory, (2) Full Design and Development, and (3) Conferences, Workshops, and Syntheses. All three types of projects apply to each of the four DRK-12 strands.

Amount: $50,000,000 is available for 35 to 45 grants per year. It is anticipated that about 15-20 Exploratory awards, 15-20 Full Research and Development awards, and 5 Conference/Workshop/Synthesis awards will be made in FY 2014, pending availability of funds.

Eligibility: Individuals and organizations in the following categories are eligible to submit proposals: universities and colleges; not-for-profit and nonacademic organizations; for-profit organizations; local and state governments; unaffiliated individuals; foreign agencies; and other federal agencies.


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